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 Post subject: New to the Forum-1st post! I just adopted a very scared pup.
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:21 am 
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Hi there,

I just adopted a 12 week old black cocker. He has taken to me - follows me everywhere. He loves my 2 toddlers, and they love him. He is pretty ok with my husband, but does not respond to him like he does with me. He piddles often when my husband reaches for him. He is also very freaked out by other people. Barks, growls and runs for cover behind my legs. I very soothingly pet him, tell him it's ok. I hold him and try to let him sniff at our company, but he is resistant. I am doing my best in socializing him. I take him on walks, bring him to work with me (he is getting to the point where he does not growl at my boss) and make sure he is introduced to new people.
This is so stressful. He tucks his little nub under before he wags it - even with me still.
To be fair - we have had him only 2 1/2 weeks, and he came castrated. My husband thinks this is the main reason he is so skiddish.
We had a cocker for 10 years and was the absolute, most loving little guy. I had him as a puppy and I do not remember him being like this at all. I got him a little younger and took him around with me everywhere.
I am taking him to the vet on Thursday for a look over and some advise, but I thought I would see what you folks thought.
I really want him to work out. We all love him!

Thanks for your thoughts!


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Forum-1st post! I just adopted a very scared
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:29 am 
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welcome (back) to the world of Cockers! Where did you aquire your little one from (warning - we want pix!)? If he was neutered so young, there is a chance he was taken away from his litter before he was 10 weeks old (12 is optimal, in my opinion, for social development).

So - back to your question: introduce him slowly. Have a HIGH value treat (boiled chicken or turkey hot dog) cut into small (smaller than bite size) pieces - and as someone new (including someone he knows but is still hesitant with) is introduced to him (or reaches for him) make sure they already have a piece of the HV yummy being offered to him.

If he turns to you for hiding (reassurance) then don't soothe him, or cuddle him - that is reinforcing that turning to YOU when stressed brings something good - what you want to be doing is teaching him to be self-confident.

Clicker training is a GREAT way to build self-confidence, too!

Pix ... lots of pix!

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http://DogBreedz.net - because every moment matters!
:Parti Indie Kodak's Canyonview Little Miss Independant, CGC, ThD (in training)
:Parti Bennett Kodak's Canyonview The Best Is Yet To Come, CGC, ThD (in training)


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Forum-1st post! I just adopted a very scared
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:10 pm 
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Thank you for your tips. I am very guilty of rewarding his cowardice. :)

I guess I am most worried he will be like this forever. Is this just a puppy phase that we can love him out of, or will this be a life-long challenge.

He lived with his mother and brother until we brought him home a couple weeks ago. From what I was told, he was not socialized. He seems so young still though - he is a little baby!

Thanks again - any and all information is completely appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Forum-1st post! I just adopted a very scared
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:40 pm 
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Hi and welcome to the forum! I think your little guy (who is completely ADORABLE) will be fine with lots of positive reinforcement and a little time. He's still young enough to shape his behavior to the way you want it. It's good to take things slow with a skittish pup. Just like children, all puppies have their own personalities and it will just take time for you to get him comfortable and moving forward. Give it another couple of weeks of rewards, socialization and positive reinforcement and see how it goes. We'd LOVE to see more pictures of him (and learn his name) when you get a chance.

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Waylon (non-cocker, terrorist) 2/1/01 -

Shiloh - 4/5/95 - 5/23/11 RIP, sweet girl


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Forum-1st post! I just adopted a very scared
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:28 pm 
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Hi and Welcome to the forum!

First off I want to reassure you that what you describe is normal puppy behavior. I remember when we first brought Chessie home she would startle at anything new at first. As she gained confidence and secruity she got better.

It is also not unusual for a pup to piddle when someone reaches out to them. When I meet a new dog that is shy I usually crouch down, put my hand down at my side (with a yummy treat if possible), I don't look directly at the pup and I let the pup come to me!

We have a ton of kids in our neighborhood and of course they all wanted to meet the new puppy. I would sit them all down in a circle with some treats. My rule was ONE at a time they could call the pup to them, have her sit or down and pet her while giving her treat. This was a win win... they got to enjoy the pup and she was well socialized with kids... and I had 8 to 9 private trainers helping me! One thing I insisted was that the pup never be grabbed or forced... she had to want to go to them. It didn't take long before she figured out they had food. Perhaps you could modify this idea to work in the office.

Our Chessie didn't like my husband much at first either... then he started doing the AM feeding. It didn't take long before he was her new best friend LOL.

You might have noticed a theme... most Cockers are very food motivated. :happy Use that to your advantage. You can use his kibble for training if your worried about overfeeding. Enjoy that puppy... this time goes so fast!

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Lisa R

Chesapeake OA, OAJ (CGC)
4/20/10

Competing in Excellent Agility ...
JWW ~ 1 of 3 Q's
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 Post subject: Re: New to the Forum-1st post! I just adopted a very scared
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:43 pm 
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I completely agree with lisa...!
Would love some pics of your lil bug.. :hp

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mom to the most adorable little Romeo(solid red english cocker spaniel)..
DOB 12/10/11..


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Forum-1st post! I just adopted a very scared
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:16 am 
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What a little doll you have!

As far as his behaviors, I have four and each one had a very different personality as a pup. My Teddy was happy but also laid back. He still (at 8 years) is - I can often picture him in a smoking jacket with a pipe. Annie was the princess diva and she walked into the house the first time as if she owned it and was allowing the rest of us to live there as staff. That was one pushy puppy! :roll Cody was - and is - my "sweet boy" - a little shy for a second or two and then warming up nicely. However he still doesn't like loud noises. Your little one will adjust but he is still a little baby and away from a lot of what he knows. The thing is if you scoop him up when he acts scared instead of letting him explore and check things out, he'll figure "Oh man - I was right! That is a scary person, toy, garbage can, etc.". It's sort of like when children are little and you see a big dog walking down the street so you grab the kid, pick him up and say "don't be afraid of the dog sweetie". The child immediately figures your actions don't match your words so there's a reason to be concerned.

After he finishes all his shots, get him into a puppy class where he can get training and also socialize. Introduce him to new people and things. And, as has been mentioned, cocker spaniels do very well with treats.

_________________
Teddy - 11/11/03
Annie - 2/13/05
Jennie - Gotcha 9/14/11
Cody - 9/2/08
Monkey Cat - 1993 - 2013
Cori - My First - 1/2/91 - 12/15/03
Maxine - My Angel - Gotcha - 9/5/09 - 7/28/11
Maddie - Good Boy - Gotcha 6/17/12 - 7/25/13


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 Post subject: Re: New to the Forum-1st post! I just adopted a very scared
PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:08 pm 
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You've received some great advice! I have a tip for "training treats"--I take baby carrots and cut them crosswise into "coins". Carrots are a low cost, low fat treat. If your pup has trouble chewing them, you can steam them in the microwave and then refrigerate.

Good luck with your pup!

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Fur-ever home to SDSR's "Princess of Quite A Lot":Mia, waiting at the Bridge


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